On Primary School Confidential by Mrs Woog

I feel guilty admitting this, but I actually hadn’t heard of Mrs Woog until I listened to a podcast where she was being interviewed. I don’t have any children so I guess that’s as good an excuse as any! Still, I’m glad I listened, and I’m glad I made a quick reservation for her book at the library because I can happily say that now I’m a bit of a fan-girl.

Right from the first page of Private School Confidential, I knew it was going to be a romping great read. For starters it has a down-right Aussie accent. That’s a weird thing to write I know, and it’s not really something I have paid much attention to before. Maybe because I don’t read huge amounts of non-fiction. It was just so clear. It was like talking to a girlfriend on a Friday night at the local pub. I guess it’s that satirical, self-deprecating writing style that immediately makes you sit up and listen:

On the P&C:

The ideal P&C president should have a resume that includes the following; time spent working as a hostage negotiator for the federal police, experience in dealing with trolls on Facebook, previous dealings with the United Nations, at LEAST a brown belt in karate, superior finger-pointing skills… 

On the Kiss and Drop:

The ‘kiss and drop’ – boy that is a game-changer. Once you go there, you will never go back.

On extracurricular activities:

Think back to your own childhood. What did you do after school? I’ll bet it didn’t involve being ferried from pillar to post. Modern parents need to collectively calm the f**k down.

On Public vs. Private School:

None of the extracurricular activities and nice lawns provided by private schools will matter if your kid turns into an entitled pain in the whatsit.

The book is roughly in three parts; Mrs Woog’s experience at primary school growing up in a small town in New South Wales, her later experience as a primary school teacher, particularly in London, and then as a parent of primary school children. She details the ups and downs of school life hilariously, the kids, the mums, the food, the must-have toys. So much so that I found myself reading chapters aloud to my husband, and laughing out loud at the stories that took me back to my own school days, and the realities of working with children every day. There is a bit of a sad irony to much of the humour though, and it does make you reflect on the difficulties our educators must suffer. More respect to them, I say.

The book is a quick read, and broken into nifty little chapters that help you speed through, each anecdote entertaining and revealing. Definitely a must-read for those who work with children, those who have children and those who want them.

Amanda

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